13 May, 2011

Garden Update

This might be one of the least attractive parts of food production, but certainly it's one of the most necessary & money saving. May I present the humble yet noble compost heap! Back in Va. we had one of those cool & jazzy compost makers that cost a ton, but it was basically a black bottomless trashcan. Our current system is less polished, but it works as well as our previous neighborhood association friendly container while producing WAY more. You just can't beat manure.
Emptying the kitchen compost pail is Charlotte's daily task & is a beginner chore for our house at around 2.5 years. I turn the pile every 3 months or so because I'm lazy & the gardens get a blanket of it in the fall & immediately after I've harvested something.

This is some kind of volunteer that has sprung up around the compost pile. I haven't figure it out yet, but so far the goats are leaving it alone.

Here's the bulk of it. It's mostly just a little kitchen garden, we've got 1 square of beans, 4 of garlic, 2 potatoes, 2 strawberries, a seriously struggling square of spinach, a square in which I keep planting new things that never appear & the the entire southern end is for vining crops, also not yet out. I've also planted some carrots, peppers & echinacea, DV, they'll appear w/ all of the rain we're receiving. 4 tomatoes are in the earth boxes at the foot of the garden. We're really hoping to keep ahead of the horn worms this year.

A close-up of the strawberries. This is our second year w/ them, the goats got at them twice last year so our harvest was minimal. They've sent out some runners, new crowns & they're still not worth the space I've given them, we've gotten more than last year already. I hope to be able to clear some land by the stream & transplant them down there if I can prevent a raccoon buffet, which brings me to my next personal project:

Clearing land. There is just so much of it to be done, I kind of just have been shoving it on the back burner. I got this much done in 2-3 of Miranda's nap times; I worked until I needed the chainsaw, which Mike very obligingly did. They're so dangerous, I won't touch one. This plot I had intended for sweet potatoes. It's a race to see who will be done first, slipping sweet potatoes, or bearing strawberries? The soil is good, fluffy & acidic, so we'll see.

Here are my sweet potatoes waiting patiently. 2 didn't make it & grew moldy, the rest are holding on. I have since read that January is the time to start slips, but as they are a heat loving plant, I'm sure I would just kill them doing that, my winter sink area temperature is in the low 60's, unless I'm cooking in there. Their companion is a basil, that needs to be outside before I pluck him to death. The african violet is a full time resident.

Rootlets! Proof of life! I've read that you can get 50 slips from one sweet potato half, I'm hoping this is true. I've got 4 left & they're putting out purplish leaves as well. I have no idea what kind of sweet potatoes (or what the regular potatoes) are, #10 all purpose potato & whatever sweet potatoes Aldi's sells.

Here is a cool tree stump on the way to my next plot. It was cooler as a tree, but still neat how it holds on:

And here is the next land plot to clear. Either the sweet potatoes, strawberries, carrots or maybe a melon will go down here. It depends on whatever is ready first. I've gotten a good bit of it done, but I need to drag the whole pile I threw over the stream to the burn/ or split pile before Mike comes w/ the chain saw so we don't start a forest fire.
My project is on halt because Mike has needed some help building a chicken house & we've commenced on the root cellar. After digging for a couple of hours I don''t feel like clearing, especially in our present humidity. We woke up at 5:30 to escape the worst of it & have cooked out the last 2 days to keep the heat out of the house. It is 9:00 & I AM BEAT. Good night, all.


Home Instead said...

I love hearing about your homesteading adventures and your busy season of life. I'm glad all is well, I think of you often. Your children are adorable and growing so quickly. Talk to you soon. Kristal

Anonymous said...

We too have been working a lot in the garden. Or at least trying. We've had so much rain! We've had to get creative as to where to plant that isn't under water or 2ft deep in mud!
Love reading your blog.